More than 1,000 people evacuated from Peguis First Nation due to flooding

It’s a dire situation in Peguis First Nation, Manitoba, as the community experiences unprecedented flooding. Alex Karpa reports.

By Alex Karpa

Highways have turned into streams, and homes are full of water, as flooding continues to worsen in Peguis First Nation, Manitoba.

It’s an unprecedented situation in the community, as water from the Fisher River continues to flow beyond its banks. More than 1,000 people have been forced out of their homes due to the rising water.

“What we are going through, I don’t want any other community to go through,” said Garry Spence, a resident of Peguis First Nation.

“I don’t see people getting back into their homes for at least a month or two, maybe even more because there are a lot of homes that will be destroyed.”

Spence’s home is in the flood zone. Ever since the water started rising, he has only been able to get to his home with his quad. He is worried he will be forced to evacuate.

“You can’t predict Mother Nature,” he said. “It snowed a lot. I believe the water is going to rise.”

Roughly 1,400 residents of Peguis First Nation have been evacuated as of Wednesday after a weekend storm and ice jams caused the nearby Fisher River to swell.

RELATED: Fisher River rises, causing more damage in flooded Manitoba community

Chief Glenn Hudson says he is watching the forecast closely.

“Depending on the thaw and the weather, there is some rain forecasted in the next couple of days and that is something we need to continue without flood-fighting efforts,” he said.

He expects more residents will need to evacuate over the next few days.

In a massive warehouse on the north side of the community, dozens of residents are helping put sandbags together day in and day out.

Jayce Garson is one of them.

“We’re saving Peguis, and we’re saving the surrounding communities,” said Garson.

Garson has been living in Peguis his entire life and has never seen anything like this before. He has been sandbagging for six days in a row and will continue to do so until the flooding stops.

“We hope that the water goes down soon, and all the families come back home. We really want the community back and to be safe,” he said.

Just down the road, fire and rescue crews were working hard to keep residents safe.

Stefan Zueff, an ambulance superintendent in Peguis First Nation, says the situation is changing hour by hour.

“It’s harder and takes more resources to respond to each of these individual emergencies because of how hard it is to get around,” said Zueff.

Spence says no matter how bad the situation is right now, the community will get through it together.

“We are succeeding right now, everybody is pitching in right now,” said Spence. “One good thing about Peguis, is we all take care of each other.”

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